President Michel Aoun underlined on Monday that his visit to Saudi Arabia aims to end ambiguities regarding the Kingdom’s ties with Lebanon, adding that he is carrying “friendship and love” for the Saudi people.
“The Lebanese-Saudi relations have been affected by the events that took place in the Arab countries; there have been some ambiguities. I am here today to dissipate them, carrying with me love and friendship for the Saudi people,” Aoun told an interview on al-Ekhbariya Saudi TV.
“We managed to preserve security and stability within the Lebanese borders (…) we had an experience in the 1970’s and we learnt–and would like everybody to learn–that internal wars only end with political solutions. We have been through a similar experience before reaching Taef Agreement and we hope that the others would adopt the political solution,” Aoun said in response to a question.
“The Lebanese parties have agreed on building Lebanon regardless of the outcome of developments in other countries, because construction, security, and stability are for everybody,” he indicated.
“We are fighting terrorism along our borders to prevent infiltration inside Lebanon. In addition, Lebanese Intelligence services are assuming their duties with their preemptive operations and arrest of terrorists. This issue has become a matter of consensus, and it was at the core of the agreement that had led to the election of a president of the republic,” he added.
“We are all in need of cooperation to fight terrorism; Lebanon is not an isolated island and we are not alone. We need cooperation with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and all the countries because terrorism is not more confined to the Middle East but has invaded the entire world, including America and Europe,” Aoun underscored, highlighting the necessity to agree with the big countries that can alone make a decision at the United Nations in that respect.”
President Aoun arrived today in Riyadh on his first trip abroad since taking office, accompanied by a ministerial delegation comprising Ministers Gebran Bassil (Foreign Affairs), Marwan Hamade (Education), Ali Hassan Khalil (Finance), Yaacoub al-Sarraf (Defense), Nouhad Mashnouq (Interior), Pierre Raffoul (Presidency Affairs), Melhem Riachi (Information) and Raed Khoury (Economy).
Aoun said that the ministers accompanying him shall meet with their counterparts to dwell on cooperation fields.
During the interview, Aoun indicated that his talks in Riyadh would include the possibility of providing assistance to the Lebanese army.
Moreover, the President hoped that the Syrian crisis would be solved peacefully and politically in order to allow the return of the displaced Syrians.
He also renewed siding with coexistence among the different minorities in the Middle East.
He finally avowed that there was no need of a new “Taef Agreement” in Lebanon. “We have the ability to make certain modifications if we deem them necessary.”